In the Region TCI decides to lower basic cable rate...

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 23, 2000

In the Region

TCI decides to lower basic cable rate, raise expanded rate

TCI Communications said yesterday that it will decrease its rate for basic cable television service for its 115,000 Baltimore city customers.

The subscription rate for basic service will drop $2.48 per month to $9.04 on June 1, said TCI spokeswoman Kirsti Durr. Meanwhile, TCI said its rate for expanded cable service will rise June 1 by $1.75 to $20.89. Customers who subscribe to expanded service must also subscribe to basic service, meaning that expanded customers would still see an overall rate decrease of 73 cents per month, Durr said.

She said the company lowered its basic service rate after re-evaluating margins and the market. TCI also plans to replace the Discovery People Channel with the Travel Channel June 1.

Lockheed loses $61 million of Patriot program bonus

Lockheed Martin Corp. lost $61 million, about two-thirds of its potential bonus, because of cost overruns on a program to develop a missile to protect U.S. ground troops, according to Army officials.

Lockheed Martin could have earned as much as $93 million if the Patriot PAC-3 development program came in below its target cost of $662 million. Army figures show that the program is now $295 million over that target. Lockheed will receive the remaining $32 million of the bonus because it's guaranteed by the contract, officials said.

The lost bonuses are a setback for Lockheed Martin, which has sought to assure investors that it's rebounding from a year marked by delivery slips and other problems in key programs, earnings warnings and a 51 percent decline in the price of its shares.

Digex signs Lakers star for ad campaign

Digex Inc, the Beltsville-based Web-hosting and Internet-services company, said yesterday that it has signed NBA star Shaquille O'Neal for an advertising campaign. The company declined to disclose financial details of the contract other than to say O'Neill's payment consists of cash and stock options.

The Los Angeles Lakers star will begin appearing this week in print advertising in the Wall Street Journal, Internet Week, InfoWorld, ComputerWorld, Business Week, Forbes and Fortune.

He'll also appear in outdoor ads in New York City, the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley, Digex said, and will be making personal appearances at the Digex booth at a technology convention in Orlando. Fla.

Imre is awarded area Home Depot account

Imre & Associates LLC, a Towson-based public relations firm, has been named agency of record for the mid-Atlantic locations of Home Depot, the hardware and home improvement retailer.

The firm will provide media and community relations and event planning for Home Depot stores in Maryland, Washington, Northern Virginia, Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania. The value of the account was not disclosed.

Imre & Associates serves a broad range of regional and national clients,including U.S. Foodservice, Ryobi Power Tools, GAB Robins and the St. Paul Cos.

Elsewhere

Intel to quadruple output of flash memory chips

Intel Corp., the world's largest computer-chip maker, said yesterday that it will spend $2 billion over the next two years to quadruple production of flash memory chips to meet soaring demand.

Intel is moving production of flash chips to more advanced 0.18 micron technology in four U.S. plants. The company, which already makes personal-computer chips using the process, expects the transition to be complete by 2001.

Flash memory retains data in electronic devices such as cell phones and Palm Pilots when the power is off. Intel has increased its capital spending budget to $6 billion this year as it adds plants to meet demand for memory as well as microprocessors.

Boeing counters Airbus with bigger 747-400

As Airbus Industrie continues to aggressively promote its A3XX superjumbo jet to airlines, Boeing Co. is going to the same customers to pitch a larger version of the 747-400 that company officials say is cheaper and easier to integrate into airlines' plans.

The A3XX is a completely new, massive airplane that Toulouse, France-based Airbus is touting as the answer for travel between major airport hubs. The first version of the double-decker plane would seat up to 555 people, and its range of 8,700 miles would be about the same as the 416-passenger 747-400.

Earlier this month, Boeing Chairman Phil Condit sent letters to major airlines touting a "stretch" version of the 747-400. This version would add about 100 seats to the 747 by adding 31 1/2 feet to the overall length of the aircraft.

Ford projects profit at Land Rover in 2002

Ford Motor Co., which is buying Bayerische Motoren Werke AG's Land Rover sport-utility unit, said it doesn't expect the business to be profitable before 2002.

Ford agreed to buy the business in March, paying 2 billion euros ($1.8 billion) initially and 1 billion euros later. Ford said. The sale is to be complete by June 30 and a sales agreement could be concluded "any day," a spokesman said.

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